Justia Civil Rights Opinion SummariesArticles Posted in Juvenile Law
In re T.F.-G.
In the midst of a group contacted by officers for smoking cannabis on the street, 16-year-old T.F.-G. witnessed first one and then another of his companions be restrained, searched, and made to sit on the curb as the officers worked their way through the group. T.F.-G. ran. Chased, tackled, and punched, he was arrested for resisting or delaying a peace officer (Pen. Code 148(a)). In a search incident to that arrest, the police found a loaded handgun in his pocket, which T.F.-G. was not licensed to carry.The court of appeal affirmed his convictions. The totality of the circumstances, establishing the existence of probable cause for his arrest for resisting or delaying a peace officer—the asserted basis for the eventual search that revealed his possession of a loaded handgun in public–indicated that a reasonable person in T.F.-G.’s position would have understood he was not free to leave. The court also rejected a Second Amendment facial challenge to the prohibition on the unlicensed public carrying of loaded firearms. Although California’s “good cause” licensing requirement is undisputedly unconstitutional under the Supreme Court’s 2022 “Bruen” decision, the unconstitutionality of a discrete licensing requirement does not render section 25850 facially unconstitutional. View "In re T.F.-G." on Justia Law
Nugent v. Spectrum Juvenile Justice Services
Spectrum contracts with Michigan to house children who are ordered to be detained in facilities “similar to a prison setting.” The children are completely restricted in their movements. The state requires Spectrum to monitor them on a 24/7 basis. A court ordered the detention of 15-year-old Quintana at Spectrum’s facility on August 24, 2018. Quintana struggled with depression, anxiety, and difficulty sleeping, among other things. On September 11, 2018, Quintana took his life while alone in his bedroom. No one checked his room in the 45 minutes between the last time he was seen alive and when his body was found, violating a contractual requirement that Spectrum conduct “eye-on checks” every 15 minutes when the children are “outside of the direct supervision of staff.” Spectrum had a policy or custom of skipping many eye-on checks and falsifying supervision logs to reflect that the checks had been performed.Quintana’s estate sued Spectrum under 42 U.S.C. 1983, alleging that Spectrum functioned as a state actor and violated Quintana’s Eighth and Fourteenth Amendment rights. The Sixth Circuit reversed the dismissed the dismissal of the suit. The complaint contains adequate facts to establish that Spectrum is a state actor. Spectrum was allegedly engaged in a public function similar to a correctional institution, a traditionally exclusive state function. View "Nugent v. Spectrum Juvenile Justice Services" on Justia Law
T. S. v. County of Cook
Fox TV obtained permission from Superintendent Dixon to film scenes for the television series, Empire, at the Cook County Juvenile Temporary Detention Center. Fox used the Center’s outdoor yard, visitation room, medical office, and certain living spaces for five days and returned to film retakes on seven additional days. During filming, several housing pods housed more detainees than the Center’s policy suggested; some detainees exercised indoors instead of in the outdoor yard; some classes were moved; and the Center postponed or canceled some extra‐curricular activities and held visitation hours in a smaller room.Three detainees filed a proposed class action lawsuit under 42 U.S.C. 1983. The district court granted Dixon partial summary judgment on qualified immunity grounds because the plaintiffs had not shown “a clearly established right to be free of the arguably modest disruptions” but did not dismiss state law claims. The court reasoned that Dixon acted as the detainees’ guardian and had a fiduciary duty to “protect [them] from harm.” Under the holding, Dixon would only be entitled to sovereign immunity on the state law breach of fiduciary duty claim if he proved that he did not violate the detainees’ constitutional rights. On interlocutory appeal, the Seventh Circuit held that Dixon is immune from suit under the Illinois State Lawsuit Immunity Act. The alleged wrongful conduct arose from decisions Dixon made within the scope of his authority. View "T. S. v. County of Cook" on Justia Law
State v. Flowers
The Supreme Court affirmed the judgment of the court of appeals granting the petition for a writ of prohibition filed by the State prohibiting the district court from enforcing a "taint team" order, holding that the district court erred in concluding that the Sixth Amendment right to counsel was implicated in this case.Appellant, a juvenile at the time of his offense, was convicted of first-degree premeditated murder and sentenced to two consecutive sentences of life without the possibility of release. After Miller v. Alabama, 467 U.S. 460 (2012), was decided, Appellant was granted resentencing. At issue during the hearing was copies of recorded calls made by Appellant while he was incarcerated. The district court ordered the State to use a taint team to review the recorded calls for attorney-client communications on the ground that Appellant's the constitutional right to counsel was implicated. The court of appeals granted the State's petition for a writ prohibiting the court from enforcing the taint team order. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that relief was not warranted because (1) the Sixth Amendment was not implicated here; and (2) the State would be injured and without any adequate remedy to correct the unauthorized action of the court. View "State v. Flowers" on Justia Law
In re Matthew M.
Over the objection of 12-year-old M.M.’s mother (“mother”), the juvenile court authorized the Los Angeles County Department of Children and Family Services or the congregate care facility where M.M. was placed to vaccinate the child against the SARS-CoV-2 virus once his pediatrician approved. Several weeks later mother asked the court to rescind its order, explaining in greater detail her religious objection to M.M. receiving the COVID-19 vaccine. After an evidentiary hearing, the juvenile court denied the petition, finding insufficient evidence it was in the child’s best interest not to be vaccinated. The Second Appellate District affirmed. The court explained that the record at the section 388 hearing amply justified the court’s conclusion it would not be in M.M.’s best interest to revoke the vaccination order despite mother’s unsupported concerns about possible adverse side effects. As established by the Department’s response to mother’s petition, COVID-19 was one of the ten leading causes of death for children as of October 2021, COVID-19 infections were then increasing, M.M. was in contact with multiple individuals at his placement and his school, the Pfizer vaccine had been found safe for children his age and M.M.’s pediatrician had determined there were no known contraindications to M.M. receiving the vaccine. Moreover, as discussed, M.M. was not averse to receiving the vaccination, leaving it to the court to decide. Accordingly, it was not an abuse of discretion for the court to conclude its authorization to vaccinate M.M. should stand. View "In re Matthew M." on Justia Law
In re S.V.
The Humboldt County Department of Health and Human Services filed a petition alleging that the minor had been sexually abused by her father. Mother was not named as an offending parent in the petition. The juvenile court found that the Department failed to prove the sexual abuse allegations against the father but did not dismiss the petition. Instead, the court found that the evidence supported jurisdiction based upon unpleaded allegations of emotional abuse by the mother, a position urged by the minor’s counsel but opposed by the Department. The court subsequently entered a disposition order.The court of appeal reversed. The juvenile court violated the mother’s due process rights when it established jurisdiction based on the conduct of a parent the Department never alleged was an offending parent, and on a factual and legal theory not raised in the Department’s petition. Parents have a due process right to be informed of the nature of the proceedings and the allegations upon which the deprivation of custody is predicated so that they can make an informed decision on whether to appear, prepare, and contest the allegations. View "In re S.V." on Justia Law
In re D.R.
The Supreme Court affirmed the judgment of the court of appeals determining that Ohio Rev. Code 2152.84(A)(2)(b) was fundamentally unfair as applied to D.R., the juvenile in this case, and thus violated his right to procedural due process, holding that the court of appeals did not err.D.R. was adjudicated delinquent for sexually assaulting his friend when he was sixteen years old. The juvenile court suspended D.R.'s commitment and placed him on probation with conditions. The court classified D.R. as a Tier I offender and notified him that he had a duty to register as a sex offender. At the end of D.R.'s disposition, the magistrate terminated D.R.'s probation but continued his Tier I classification on the grounds that it lacked the statutory authority the terminate the classification. The court of appeals reversed. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that the statute was fundamentally unfair as applied to D.R. and violated due process. View "In re D.R." on Justia Law
In re D.N.
The Supreme Court affirmed the judgment of the court of appeal affirming the judgment of the juvenile court finding true that Minor had committed one count of violating Cal. Penal Code 288.5 and order probation, thus rejecting Minor's claims that a community service provision of the disposition violated separation of powers principles and infringed his due process rights, holding that there was no error.In affirming, the appellate court acknowledged that a juvenile court may not delegate to a probation officer the authority to determine that a minor is in violation of probation but held that, in this case, the juvenile court's order permitting the probation officer to offer Minor the option of community service for an alleged violation did not permit the probation department to decide if and when a violation of probation had occurred. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that the juvenile court order authorizing the probation officer to offer Minor on probation the option of performing community service, in an amount chosen by the probation officer up to a maximum set by the court, in the event Minor was alleged to have violated a term of probation, did not violate due process or separation of powers principles. View "In re D.N." on Justia Law
State v. Nicholas
The Supreme Court reversed the judgment of the court of appeals affirming the decision of the juvenile court to transfer Appellant to adult court, holding that that court's decision to transfer Appellant to adult court was not supported by a preponderance of the evidence and that the juvenile court abused its discretion by relinquishing jurisdiction.After the juvenile court transferred jurisdiction over Appellant to the general division a jury found Appellant guilty of aggravated murder and murder for a killing that occurred when he was fourteen years old. The court of appeals affirmed the conviction, concluding that the juvenile court did not violate Appellant's constitutional right to due process by transferring his case to the adult court. The Supreme Court reversed, holding (1) the standard of proof applicable to discretionary-bindover proceedings is a preponderance of the evidence, and the state need not produce affirmative evidence of nonamenability; (2) a juvenile court need not consider all potential juvenile dispositions when balancing the factors weighing in favor of and against transfer; and (3) the juvenile court improperly relinquished jurisdiction in this case. View "State v. Nicholas" on Justia Law
Keefe v. State
The Supreme Court affirmed the judgment and sentence of the district court in this criminal case, holding that the district court adequately considered evidence of Defendant's post-offense rehabilitation under Miller v. Alabama, 567 U.S. 460 (2012), and imposed a constitutional sentence by striking a parole restriction.When he was seventeen years old, Defendant was charged with burglary and three counts of deliberate homicide. Defendant was convicted of all counts and sentenced to three consecutive life sentences without parole. Defendant later filed a successful postconviction petition seeking resentencing under Miller. After a resentencing hearing, the district court sentenced Defendant to three consecutive life terms at MSP without the possibility of parole. The Supreme Court remanded the case. On remand, the district court resentenced him to three life sentences and did not restrict Defendant's eligibility for parole. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that the district court complied with the Court's instructions on remand in Keefe II and imposed a legal sentence. View "Keefe v. State" on Justia Law